KenCrest has recently consolidated our COVID-19 resources into the following four categories for ease of viewing/finding information. Simply click on one of the categories below for the information you’re looking for.
Click below to see short video message to our families and supporters during COVID-19 from our CEO, Marian Baldini.
April 2021 Video Message from Marian
Messages from Our CEO About COVID-19
April 14, 2021
To The KenCrest Community,
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been navigating the coronavirus pandemic for over a year now. As I reflect on the work our team has done; the support we’ve received from parents and guardians, friends, donors, volunteers, neighbors, legislators, and partners—I am filled with gratitude. We have been fortunate in keeping our case counts low and our operations steady, while still pursuing opportunities for innovation, growth, and expansion.
We are springing into a season of hope, as more and more of the KenCrest family is vaccinated. Slowly but surely we’re transitioning back into the greater community as safely as we can, but with excitement and the anticipation of a “new normal” we’ve only imagined, one of total inclusion.
Over the last year, KenCrest has not only invested in sustainability efforts, but progressive ones to combat a myriad of barriers our community at times experiences. During the peak of the coronavirus cases, we developed mask assessments to help those we support adjust to face coverings by giving them a plethora of options and opportunities to get comfortable with mask wearing. We opened visitation centers in our closed-day programs with hugging booths and partitions for families to get “face time” that didn’t involve phones or webcams. KenCrest continued to advocate for funding increases at the state and federal levels for early learning, disability waivers, paid family leave, and direct care wages. We provided hundreds of children and their families in our Early Learning programs with over 55,000 healthy meals, ensuring that hunger would never have a place in their homes. We helped thousands of early intervention families virtually with the resources, knowledge, emotional support, and confidence as parents became in-person speech, occupational, and physical therapists to their little ones. We pursued and funded new business ideas within our agency to improve our service offerings and the opportunities to help empower for those we support. Most of all, we stayed connected to our mission and to each other, even when socially distanced!
While the pandemic may be far from over, we have hope for the great things we’re accomplishing each and every day as an organization and as a family. We also have hope in those who have supported us through the pandemic through donations, monetary gifts, and sharing our stories and accomplishments. Your kindness and generosity has made all the difference in our continued success, thank you.
No matter where our “new normal” takes us, KenCrest is ready and excited to continue to mobilize, explore, and empower those around us. Again, we thank you for allowing us to make the dreams of those we support our mission.
CEO and President of KenCrest
COVID-19 Resources for Families
The following are resources and tips for families regarding the Coronavirus:
- For Connecticut – scroll down to “Find a Testing Site Near You” and enter you zip code
- For Delaware – use drop down for county listing
- For Pennsylvania – Scroll down for the map, use the green “near me” icon to input your address
For Vaccine Information
- Fireside chat video Q&A session about COVID-19 vaccines with Marian Baldini and the Twin Sister Docs of Philadelphia
- List of Non-Philadelphia Meal Sites
- List of Philadelphia Meal Sites
- Philabundance Searchable Food Map of Philadelphia
For Emotional Support
- Coronavirus Social Story – from ASERT Collaborative
- Hand Washing Tips – from ASERT Collaborative
- Social Distancing Tips – from ASERT Collaborative
- COVID-19 Communication Board – from Temple University
- Toolkit of Ready-Made Resources to Support Individuals with Autism Around the COVID Crisis – from The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC
- Tips for Pennsylvanians Receiving a Paper Stimulus Check – what you need to know about cashing a stimulus check
KenCrest COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should a person do if they are experiencing domestic violence in their home but have nowhere to go due to the coronavirus pandemic?
A: Reports of domestic abuse are often made by school teachers and therapists who come into homes with children who need their services. However, with the cancellation of school and therapy sessions now happening online, reports that would have been made by teachers and therapists are lower as a result of less face-to-face interactions. Nevertheless, many cities and countries around the world are seeing growing numbers of domestic violence with so many people staying home with the COVID-19 outbreak. Some countries like France and Spain have implemented a code word (“mask 19”) for customers being abused to use at pharmacies to alert staff to call the police. While the United States is still working on getting this code word established with pharmacies, those experiencing abuse have several options for getting help. If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers several contact methods: Call 800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522, or visit its website, which has online chat support available around the clock. If you need help with other types of violence or mental health issues, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Q: What KenCrest programs and services are closed?
A: KenCrest’s day program facilities closed March 13, 2020 and we’ve moved all of our Community Participation Programs into the community (as opposed to meeting inside buildings.) Our Pennsylvania Early Intervention services transitioned to tele-intervention services on March 23, 2020. Our Delaware Early Intervention services started tele-evaluations in the northern part of the state, and service coordination started in the New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties on March 23, 2020 also. All of KenCrest Community Living program options—including our in-home/supported living, Lifesharing, and medically fragile programs—are continuing throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.
Q: Are KenCrest staff wearing masks?
A: As of April 7, 2020, we are following the mandates set forth by our governing states; all of our staff were issued masks and are wearing them at work and out in public spaces.
Q: Are KenCrest clients wearing masks?
A: As of April 1, 2020, we are following the mandates set forth by our governing states; clients are not wearing masks within their homes, unless we’ve deemed it medically necessary for them to do so. When we must take them out of their homes for essential doctor’s appointments, we are encouraging them to wear masks.
Q: When will the Community Participation and Day Programs re-open?
A: We’ve moved all of our Community Participation Programs into the community (as opposed to meeting inside buildings.) If your loved one resides at home with you, please contact the Assistant Director of your loved one’s Community Participation Program for more information.
Q: Will KenCrest close?
A: KenCrest is considered an essential healthcare and life-sustaining business, and our staff will continue to report to work at their respective offices, homes, and locations. With the exception of our day programs and early learning centers, all KenCrest locations will remain open.
Q: Can people make a donation to KenCrest related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Absolutely, we are appreciative of everyone who supports KenCrest throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to make a donation (monetary, needed supplies, masks), you can do so at https://www.kencrest.org/get-involved/help-during-covid-19/. Please email us at email@example.com if you’d like to arrange a drop-off/pick-up of any supplies.
Q: Is KenCrest accepting supply donations? If so, what donations do you need?
A: We are extremely grateful for any supply donations we receive. We have a significant need for the following:
- Surgical masks
- Battery-operated thermometers
- Technical devices for individuals to connect with telehealth, therapists, and social networks (tablets, iPhones)
- Arts and crafts supplies
- Board games, puzzles, etc.
- School supplies (crayons, markers, construction paper, Play-Doh, etc.)
Q: What is KenCrest doing to maintain its workforce?
A: KenCrest continues to hire employees throughout the COVID-19 crisis. You can learn more about our openings at KenCrest.org/careers.
Q: What if a staff member appears to be sick?
A: We ask all employees who are sick to stay home. To err on the side of caution, if any employee exhibits a fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing while at work, we will ask them to seek medical evaluation, and they will be sent home.
Q: What steps can we take now to minimize risk of transmission?
A: Repeatedly, creatively, and aggressively encourage all employees and others to take the same steps they should be taking to avoid the seasonal flu. For the annual influenza, SARS, Asian flu, swine flu, and now the COVID-19 coronavirus, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure. Everyone should follow these tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick.
- Practice social distancing – refrain from shaking hands with others for the time being.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Perhaps the most important message you can give to employees: stay home when you are sick.
Q: Have there been any cases of coronavirus at KenCrest?
A: Yes. We’re following a designated protocol of informing the families, primary care physicians, and staff who have supported and/or interacted with the individuals. We’re also applying every measure to promote the continued good health of both the individuals and those who were in contact with them. We are honoring our commitment to confidentiality; only those who need to know information about the individuals are contacted.
Q: Who should call/see their doctor?
A: The symptoms of the virus are cough, fever, and shortness of breath. You need to contact your doctor if you have these symptoms.
Q: Am I allowed to visit my loved one at their community home?
A: As of April 1, 2021, we have implemented a new visitation policy. Please visit this page for complete details.
Community Living and Other Residential Programs
Q: How is KenCrest supporting Community-Based Services and Supported Independent Living clients?
A: KenCrest staff continue to support clients through video conferencing, FaceTime, and phone calls as much as possible. In instances where remote interactions wouldn’t be beneficial (such as grocery shopping), staff are limiting their physical interactions as much as possible and are practicing social distancing, sanitizing, and hand-washing guidelines mandated by our governing entities. We are also encouraging these same practices among those we support.
Q: My family member is in a KenCrest community home. What are my options to stay connected to them?
A: Maintaining strong relationships and communication between those we support and their loved ones is one of KenCrest’s top priorities. You are allowed to visit your loved one. Please visit this page for complete details. We still encourage you to call your loved one or utilize video conferencing like FaceTime.
Q: How are you protecting my loved one from COVID-19?
A: KenCrest is following the directives of the CDC in all of our sanitization and personal hygiene practices, and we’re helping those we support to do the same. We are taking extra precautions and limiting our travel outside of the community homes to essential travel, such as essential doctor appointments for individuals. When those we support need to leave their home, we are sanitizing vehicles before and after travel. We are also keeping a daily record of everyone’s temperature and staying vigilant of any symptoms associated with coronavirus.
Q: Is KenCrest stopping all public activities?
A: We are following the guidelines as established by the CDC and our service states, which include closing our day programs, limiting our community participation activities to essential activities only, and limiting activities within our Community-Based Services and Supported Independent Living programs. We are still encouraging exercise at our homes and getting people outside to take walks in their local parks or neighborhoods in non-crowded areas.
Q: What is the plan if our loved ones become ill?
A: Those we support are being monitored regularly for all illnesses. We are paying particular attention to the symptoms that have been identified as those closely associated with COVID-19. Should any of these appear, your loved one’s status will be immediately shared with the nursing staff, who is in regular contact with each of our homes. Following the CDC guidelines, we’ll call their primary doctor, follow the recommendations received, and if determined necessary by their physician, transport your loved one to the emergency room.
Q: What is the plan if our loved one’s roommate(s) or staff member becomes ill?
A: Those we support are being monitored regularly for all illnesses. We are paying particular attention to the symptoms that have been identified as those closely associated with COVID-19. Should any of these appear, we will share the individual’s status with the nursing staff, who is in regular contact with each of our homes. Following the CDC guidelines, we’ll call their primary doctor, follow the recommendations received, and if determined necessary by their physician, transport them to the emergency room. If the individual does not need emergency care, we will do our best to quarantine them to their bedroom. Our goal is to support people in their homes, where they’re most comfortable, as much as possible. If a staff member becomes ill, he or she will be sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days, get tested, and recover. They may return to work after recovering and being symptom-free without taking medication for three days in a row.
Q: Will you send clients to the hospital?
A: Yes, if it is determined to be medically necessary by the recommendations of the primary care physician.
Q: How are you testing clients for coronavirus?
A: We are not testing anyone at any of our locations; testing is being done at designated health locations. If medically necessary as determined by the family physician, we will transport any individual who is suspect to the hospital for further evaluation.
Q: What are clients doing during the day if their daily programs are shut down?
A: Our day program staff have been reassigned to work in the homes and are providing services to individuals in their community homes. We have team members who have created activity plans for day program staff to lead in the community homes to keep everyone engaged. Those activities are still ramping up and improving with each passing day.
Q: Are transportation vehicles being disinfected on a nightly basis?
A: Our use of the vehicles is very limited since we’re not going out. Staff have been instructed to clean them if they find it necessary to take clients out of the homes.
Q: Do the facilities have enough hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies on hand?
A: They currently have cleaning supplies. Additional supplies are on order and scheduled to arrive in the upcoming days. Hand sanitizer is not permitted to be kept in open spaces in the homes, but staff are permitted to carry it on them. In the event that we run out of the purchased bleach sanitation wipes, our locations have guidelines on creating their own bleach solution wipes.
Q: Are community activities being limited, or are clients still going out and about as usual?
A: We are following the guidelines as established by the CDC and our service states, and limiting our community activities. This includes but isn’t limited to attending church services, social events, and/or anything that draws a large group of people. We are still encouraging exercise at our homes and getting people outside to take walks in their local parks or neighborhoods in non-crowded areas.
Q: What steps are being taken to ensure that substitute staff are available should a regular staff member become ill?
A: We have centralized scheduling, which has access to our entire available workforce. We’re assessing our training needs so that our front office support and administration staff can supplement our direct care work force, if needed.
Q: Are the homes stocked with emergency supplies in the event that the house needs to be quarantined?
A: We have procedures in place regarding quarantining and supplies, and we are considering and updating those daily.
Q: What communication protocol has been put out to keep everyone informed?
A: Internally, we have calls twice each week with our leadership team, host virtual town hall calls with all staff frequently, and disseminate information through our internal communication platforms and tools. Externally, we’ve sent out letters to all the families and individuals we support, posted updates to our website about how KenCrest is handling the COVID-19 situation, made our website available in multiple languages, maintained an on-going list of frequently asked questions on the website, established a hot line number (833-329-4333) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions from the community, and posted directives to our social media pages. We are currently exploring other communication tools including a text message application for staff and for families. If you have any suggestions, please contact us at email@example.com. We welcome your feedback.
Early Intervention Services
Q: How is KenCrest supporting families receiving Early Intervention services?
A: Our Pennsylvania Early Intervention services transitioned to teleintervention services on March 23, 2020, and parents/caregivers are finding success with teleintervention. As of October 5, a one-time, face-to-face visit can be approved after the team meets to discuss the focus of the visit. On March 23, 2020, our Delaware Early Intervention services began tele-evaluations in the northern part of the state, and virtual service coordination started in the New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.
We reached out to all of the families we support directly to help them enroll in teleinterventions and tele-evaluations. We have continued to provide additional resources to the families for activities and provide as much support as we can through phone calls and emails when questions arise. A plethora of family resources can be found on this web page in the “COVID-19 Resources for Families” section.
Early Learning Centers
Q: Are KenCrest Early Learning Centers open?
A: Yes, our Early Learning Centers are open for in-person learning as well virtual learning and child care services. Grab-and-Go meals are available to ELC-registered children who are doing virtual learning by signing up at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, we’re offering virtual parent education during this time. To register or for more information, please email EarlyLearning@kencrest.org.
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